Common Ear, Nose and Throat Problems

ENT (ear, nose, and throat) disorders are illnesses that cover a wide range of concerns, and each condition has specific symptoms. Having some knowledge of how an ENT disorder may manifest can be advantageous.

Ear infection: This is the most common ENT concern.  It occurs when germs get trapped in the ear’s inner section, namely, the Eustachian tube. The Eustachian tube is a sensitive area so if the tube gets clogged or becomes too narrow, bacteria may sneak into the ear and cause an infection. Symptoms of ear infections may include:

•    presence of upper respiratory disorders/infection

•    inability to find balance

•    pressure in the ear

•    fever

•    difficulty hearing

•    vomiting and dizziness

•    presence of fluid in the ear (possible damage to the tympanic membrane)

Ear inflammation: This occurs more frequently in children. It can be challenging to detect so here are the telltale signs to look for:

•    heightened fussiness, especially at bedtime

•    pulling on the ears

•    signs of inability to respond to noises or being called

Strep Throat: Strep refers to a type of bacteria known as “streptococci.” Strep throat occurs when the throat area and its related structures get infected by germs. Strep is a rather common infection and shares similar symptoms with other diseases. Signs suddenly appear at the start of infection, usually manifesting as discomfort when swallowing, red, sore throat; enlarged tonsils, white stains on the tonsils or in the back area of the throat, enlarged lymph nodes, body aches, fever, fatigue, and in some rare cases, skin rash.

Sinusitis: It is the resulting inflammation/irritation when a germ slips into the hollow cavities of the skull which is located closely behind your eyes and nose. Acute sinusitis is related to the common cold. Chronic sinusitis can be caused by untreated allergies or conditions, such as bronchial asthma. The symptoms of sinusitis include:

•    cough

•    headache

•    congestion

•    nasal discharge of various colors and consistency

•    toothache

•    fatigue

•    fever

Apnea: This term is used in the context of interrupted breathing. Sleep apnea is a disorder wherein breathing stops briefly during sleep. See a health expert if you think you are suffering from sleep apnea. Symptoms include:

•    feeling unrefreshed upon awakening

•    waking up frequently in the middle of the night

•    daytime drowsiness

•    depression

•    mood swings

•    waking with a parched throat

•    headaches early in the day

Aside from these symptoms, sleep apnea sufferers often get told by family members of their tendency to make gasping or choking noises while sleeping. There is a higher risk of sleep apnea for overweight people, those with enlarged tonsils, those who have sedatives at night, and people who possess shorter airways compared to average. Lastly, overweight people with untreated hypertension are also more prone to develop sleep apnea.

Some people will exhibit at least one of these common ENT disorders and issues in their lifetime. If you have reason to believe that you have these issues or you suspect that it might be an ENT disorder, discuss your symptoms with a physician for a more precise diagnosis.